Women prefer warmer temperatures because of EVOLUTION, new study claims


Women prefer warmer temperatures and argue with men over heating because of EVOLUTION, new study claims

  • Female members of species are naturally drawn to warmer temperatures – study
  • Researchers in Israel found this is because of an in-built ‘evolutionary difference’
  • Experts studied around 11,000 birds and bats using data collected over 40 years 
  • Research suggests women feel the cold more due to variations in metabolism


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It is a common cause of arguments – but next time you bicker over the heating, you can use evolution to back you up.

Scientists have discovered female members of species are naturally drawn to warmer temperatures because of an in-built ‘evolutionary difference’. 

Researchers in Israel studied 13 bird and 18 bat species to determine if the animals displayed geographical separation between the sexes.

The study by Tel Aviv University found the males preferred lower temperatures than females. This led to physical distance between them at certain times of year.

Research in humans has previously suggested that the sexes experience temperature differently, with women feeling the cold more because of variations in metabolism and the production of body heat.

Turning up the heat: Scientists have discovered that female members of species are naturally drawn to warmer temperatures because of an in-built 'evolutionary difference' (stock image)

Turning up the heat: Scientists have discovered that female members of species are naturally drawn to warmer temperatures because of an in-built ‘evolutionary difference’ (stock image)

WHY DO WOMEN FEEL THE COLD MORE THAN MEN?

Research in humans has previously suggested that the sexes experience temperature differently, with women feeling the cold more because of variations in metabolism and the production of body heat.

Men and women have roughly the same core body temperature, at over 37C; although some studies have found that it’s slightly higher in women. 

Regardless of this, however, our perception of temperature depends more on skin temperature. This tends to be lower for women.

One study estimated that the average temperature of women’s hands when exposed to the cold was almost 3°C (5.4°F) lower than in men.

The female hormone oestrogen plays a role in this because it slightly thickens the blood, reducing the flow to the capillaries that supply the tips of fingers and toes, particularly when its cold. 

Previous research has revealed that women often feel colder around ovulation, when oestrogen levels are high.

Metabolism is also factor because it dictates how quickly heat energy is produced. Again, on average, women have a lower metabolic rate than men.

Higher muscle mass tends to lead to higher resting metabolism, which is linked to burning more calories and a higher blood flow, both of which help keep a person’s arms and legs warm.

Study co-author Dr Eran Levin, from the university’s School of Zoology, said: ‘We have hypothesised that what we are dealing with is a difference between the females’ and males’ heat-sensing mechanisms, which developed over the course of evolution.’ 

In previous research Dr Levin found that during the breeding season males and females tend to segregate, with the males inhabiting cooler areas.

For example, entire colonies in caves on the slopes of Mount Hermon, on the Lebanon-Syria border, are composed of only males during the breeding season, while in the warmer area of the Sea of Galilee there are mainly females, who give birth and raise their pups there. 

It was this phenomenon that aroused Dr Levin’s curiosity. 

Among many mammals, even in species that live in pairs or in mixed groups all their lives, the males prefer shade whereas the females prefer sunlight, or the males ascend to the peaks of mountains while the females remain in the valleys, the researchers said.

Their study included around 11,000 birds and bats using data collected over 40 years.

These species were chosen because they fly and are therefore highly mobile, so researchers believed spatial separation between the sexes – sometimes extending to different climatic zones – would be particularly clear in such groups.  

Israel’s significant climate diversity also allowed them to study individual animals of the same species that live in very different climatic conditions. 

The researchers found that males prefer a lower temperature than females, and that this preference leads to a separation between the sexes at certain periods during the breeding cycles, when the males and females do not need, and may even interfere, with each other.

Dr Levin said: ‘Our study has shown that the phenomenon is not unique to humans; among many species of birds and mammals, females prefer a warmer environment than males, and at certain times these preferences cause segregation between the two species. 

It is a common cause of arguments – but next time you bicker over the heating, you can use evolution to back you up (stock image)

It is a common cause of arguments – but next time you bicker over the heating, you can use evolution to back you up (stock image)

It is a common cause of arguments – but next time you bicker over the heating, you can use evolution to back you up (stock image)

‘This difference is similar in its essence to the known differences between the pain sensations experienced by the two sexes, and is impacted by differences in the neural mechanisms responsible for the sensation and also by hormonal differences between males and females.’

Co-author Dr Tali Magory Cohen said the separation may be explained by a desire for offspring to be kept away from aggressive males and to reduce competition for food.

‘The bottom line is, going back to the human realm, we can say that this difference in thermal sensation did not come about so that we could argue with our partners over the air conditioning, but rather the opposite: it is meant to make the couple take some distance from each other so that each individual can enjoy some peace and quiet,’ the researchers concluded.

‘The phenomenon can also be linked to sociological phenomena observed in many animals and even in humans, in a mixed environment of females and males: females tend to have much more physical contact between themselves, whereas males maintain more distance and shy away from contact with each other.’ 

The research has been published in the journal Global Ecology and Biography journal.

WHAT IS CONVERGENT EVOLUTION?

Convergent evolution is the process by which two unrelated species independently evolve similar features to adapt to similar problems or habitats.  

Modern-day examples of convergent evolution are the hedgehog and the tenrec – a Madagascan animal which closely resembles the hedgehog but is totally unrelated.

An example of convergent evolution is the similar nature of the flight/wings of insects, birds, pterosaurs, and bats. 

All four serve the same function and are similar in structure, but each evolved independently. 

The tenrec is a Madagascan animal which closely resembles the hedgehog. It has developed spines all over it's body and similar foraging techniques to survvie in the same ecological niche that the hedgehog occupies in the UK

The tenrec is a Madagascan animal which closely resembles the hedgehog. It has developed spines all over it's body and similar foraging techniques to survvie in the same ecological niche that the hedgehog occupies in the UK

The hedgehog is common in the UK, they are nocturnal and have a wide variety of food sources

The hedgehog is common in the UK, they are nocturnal and have a wide variety of food sources

The tenrec (left)  and the hedgehog (right) are the perfect example of convergent evolution. One is commonly found in UK gardens and the other is exclusive to the island of Madagascar. They are not related



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Written by bourbiza

bourbiza is an entertainment reporter for iltuoiphone News and is based in Los Angeles.

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